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RET Ventures launches ESG-focused Housing Impact Fund

Today, RET Ventures announced the first closing of a new ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) focused investment fund led by multifamily REITs Essex Property Trust and UDR, Inc., according to a press release shared with FinLedger.

The fund, titled the RET Ventures ESG Fund, will be managed by RET and will target $80 million in investor capital commitments. RET says the investment vehicle, also called the Housing Impact Fund, will support the growth and successful implementation of ESG solutions for the housing industry, including technologies that improve both environmental and social outcomes of developments and existing properties.

With this initial closing of the fund, RET Ventures says it now manages more than $375 million in committed capital, with key environmental portfolio companies including Conservation Labs, Falkbuilt, Juno, Measurabl, PassiveLogic and SmartRent.

The large real estate tech investment firm also noted that an important goal of the fund will be broadening the sector’s approach to ESG, utilizing a more holistic focus that addresses climate change and environmental risks.

RET says this includes housing affordability, building health and safety and resident well-being, as well as improving building design, reducing energy usage and carbon emissions, efficient waste management and ESG data collection and reporting.

“The housing sector has a significant impact on society in terms of both its critical role in the lives of residents and its resource footprint. With this fund, we plan to invest in technologies that mitigate the environmental impact of real estate, while addressing other important social and stakeholder issues,” stated Christopher Yip, partner at RET Ventures, in the release.

“With a groundswell of support across the sector, there is an opportunity for purpose-driven technology to improve nearly every aspect of the industry — investment, construction, operations and more — and we’re proud to be partnering with Essex and UDR to build toward a more sustainable future,” Yip said.

While the fund is RET Ventures’ first vehicle targeted toward ESG technologies, the firm noted that it has “demonstrated a commitment to supporting sustainable innovation, including leading an ESG working group made up of more than 20 multifamily and single-family rental executives.”

“Taking a leadership role in this fund marks an important next step for Essex as we continue to expand on our decades long commitment to sustainability and investing in technologies that target an environmental benefit,” stated Essex CEO Mike Schall in the release.

In other recent proptech news, Catalyze announced a joint clean energy partnership with Stream Realty Partners. CBRE also opened a new flexible, high-tech office in Texas.

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